Our Take: Jolly Rancher Lollipops

July 10, 2012

A while back, I pinned this idea of Jolly Rancher Lollipops on Pinterest. I thought they would be a fun summer activity because they are phe-free, making them perfect for Little Monkey.

Pinterest Jolly Rancher Lollipops

The directions said to put the Jolly Ranchers on parchment paper and cook at 200 degrees for 5 minutes.

We put the Jolly Ranchers in sets of three onto the parchment paper.

Little Monkey unwrapped and selected the colors to go together for each lollipop.

Then we put them into the oven for 5 minutes at 200 degrees. Only problem, they didn’t melt. So we put them in longer. We ended up cooking them for about 12 minutes. As soon as they came out of the oven, we put the lollipop sticks into them.

Little Monkey pushed the lollipop sticks into the melted Jolly Rancher.

We probably could have cooked them a little bit longer but it worked out. I would also recommend using smaller lollipop sticks. We used these because we already had them on hand.

Little Monkey approved!

Little Monkey liked the project and it was quick and easy. Little Monkey was even more excited about the project when he found out that not only could he have the lollipops, but they are also phe free! Yay for a fun summer project for my little pku-er!


Green Eggs & Ham

March 3, 2012

Yesterday was Dr. Suess’ birthday. To celebrate at school, Little Monkey’s class has been doing lots of Dr. Suess themed things all week. On Friday, the kids got to wear their pajamas to school. Little Monkey was very excited to wear his pajamas to school. I also found out that they were going to serve green eggs and ham to the kids in his class. As is usually the case, this snack was not something that Little Monkey could have. I had to come up with something for his special snack that was ‘green eggs and ham’ too. After a quick Pinterest search, I found a cute pretzel candy idea.

I tried to make a similar idea and tried using a homemade icing. The problem I had was that I couldn’t get the icing stiff enough to stay point. I gave up and grabbed a can of frosting and waited for Little Monkey to get home from school. He was excited to help me with the project. We decided that we would make enough of the snacks so that Little Monkey could share with his class and teachers.

Little Monkey laid out sets of pretzels and waited for me to add the pile of frosting. Once the frosting was added, Little Monkey added the mini m&m on top. We put all the sets back into the fridge to help them firm up. Little Monkey loved making them, eating them and sharing them with his friends!

Making Green Eggs & Ham

Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!

Teddy Bear Biscuits

January 6, 2012

Little Monkey’s class makes different snacks each Friday as part of their lessons. The idea is to help them learn step by step directions and measuring. The only problem for Little Monkey is that he often can’t eat whatever them make because of his PKU. We came up with a plan with his teacher so that he could still participate and have a snack. At home on Thursday nights, we make a Little Monkey PKU diet approved snack that will be similar to what the other kids will be having. He takes it to school on Friday, makes the snack with the other kids and then eats the snack we made at home.

Today’s snack is Teddy Bear Biscuits made from refrigerated biscuits. Since that wasn’t an option for Little Monkey, I asked on the Cook for Love Facebook group what we could do. Turns out there is a Make ahead Biscuit recipe on the Cook for Love website. We got home late last night because we were helping some family members move, so Little Monkey didn’t get to help out in making this item at home.

Teddy Bear Biscuit!

Little Monkey loved it when he saw it this morning. The only problem was that when I moved it off the cooking sheet, the head and ears all became disconnected. 😦 Little Monkey wasn’t too sad about it. He understood how to put it back together for school. I am interested to see how he liked it and how much he ate. We put some cinnamon and sugar on top of it before baking, since the other kids were going to have cinnamon and sugar on theirs too.

The biscuit recipe was pretty easy to make and we also have other biscuits in the freezer ready to bake whenever Little Monkey might want some.

Cookie Decorating Day

December 30, 2011

At the beginning of December, Little Monkey had some friends over to have a cookie decorating day. We met one of the other families at a PKU event and another family online through Facebook. Turns out one of the families lives about 15 minutes down the road from us. We were very excited to all get together and decorate cookies and let the kids play.

We talked to our dietician and she was able to get us connected to a person at Cambrooke who generously sent us some wheat starch that we need to make the cookies. Wheat starch is the one odd ball ingredient in the cookie recipe and it isn’t cheap. We were thrilled that Cambrooke was happy to send us some for our little party.

Before the party we cooked up a bunch of cookies, decorated for Christmas and made aprons for each little guest. We also planned to make some cookies once the guests arrived so that we could show them the recipe. Little Monkey decided that we needed a sign in the yard so that people would know where to park. Mimi tried to convince him that wasn’t necessary but he wouldn’t give up. They ended up making a sign and putting it on the back of my car. While making that sign, they also made two signs for the door. Little Monkey did all the writing and then hung them up. Apparently this special animal tape was all he could find.

Welcome! 🙂

We set up two tables for cookie decorating but ended up only needing one. We used the other to collect all the finished cookies. We laid out all the aprons for the guests, but Little Monkey decided that just their first initial wouldn’t be enough. So he labeled each apron with their names too!

Appliqued aprons for the guests.

Once all the little chefs arrived, we had some pku friendly foods for everybody to eat. Once their bellies were filled up on good stuff, we got to the fun part! We pulled out all the cookies and lots of icing and some phe free decorations and let the kids go at it. It was a fun crazy time with lots of icing covered fingers and candies and cookies being eaten.

Concentrating on decorating cookies!

Even Little Monkette had fun decorating cookies (and eating them).

As cookies were decorated, we moved them over to the other table to make room for more decorating. Each family had their own section and we filled up some cute storage buckets with all their creations and more undecorated cookies to take home. We’ve been enjoying snacking on our cookies for most of the month. Amazingly, the cookies keep pretty well. We also took a plate of cookies to Little Monkey’s nurse and deitician. They shared the cookies with the office and everyone was surprised at how yummy the cookies tasted. (Lo pro foods have a bad rep for not tasting too great.)

A small collection of the decorated cookies!

A great time was had by everyone and we hope to have another cooking day in the new year. Our deitician has also asked us to consider putting together an event for our entire clinic (pku patients and families) next year. By the time Christmas comes around, the new Nemours Hospital should be open and they are going to have a big teaching kitchen that we could use to hold our event!


The Sweetest Little Monkey

November 11, 2011

Recently Little Monkey had to go back to the genetics doctor for his PKU checkup.  He did a great job, like most times, but this time he also talked quite a bit to the dietician, nurse and doctor. The nurse let him know that this time they had a big present for him (He has gotten gifts sometimes but they were usually happy meal type toys.) but that he had to get his blood work done first. He was up for it and did a great job, no tears or anything. Little Monkette watched and seem concerned but it all went well. Little Monkey grew….very little…but he grew. He is in the 10% now for height and 5% for weight. Hey-somebody has to be at the bottom of the spectrum! We are still waiting to hear back on his blood results but I’m sure they will be good!

Once he was all done, Nurse Laura went to get his special present. It was a big puppy pillow pet! Little Monkey was so excited!! (They also brought in two happy meal type toys for Little Monkette.) Little Monkey couldn’t believe it (Heck I could hardly believe it!). They told me that they had gotten some of these pillow pets in recently and checked the schedule to see who was coming in. They saw that Little Monkey would be in soon, so they saved one for him!

He told them all thank you but later in the week we wrote Nurse Laura a thank you note. I got out paper and a pen for Little Monkey and he would tell me what he wanted to write. I helped him spell out the words but he decided everything that he wanted to write.

Working hard on his letter

Here is the letter he wrote:


In case you can’t read what he wrote, it says: Nurse Laura- Thank you My dog is henry. I got henry a collar and a tag. Thank you for my dog.   Then he signed his name on the bottom right.

And yes…he really did get Henry a collar, leash and tag. We made him a tag from some craft foam and Little Monkey used his money to go to the Dollar Tree and buy him a collar and leash. He was asking and asking me to get him one but I told him that I didn’t have money to buy that. He insisted that I did but we made a deal that he could get Henry a collar and leash if he used his money, so he did.

I’ll have to get a picture for you of Henry….I don’t have one just yet somehow!

Little Monkey’s Lego Cake

March 10, 2011

To go with Little Monkey’s Lego themed party, we, of course, had to have a green lego block cake. I decided to try a recipe from Cook for Love this time. It had very good ratings and Brenda was very helpful in answering my questions before I tried to make it.

Little Monkey was very excited and eager to help out with making his cake. He donned his apron (I made him for his birthday a few years ago.) and got out the step stool. He helped to sift the starches.

Working hard!

It was quite a process to make the cake (but I trusted Brenda has it figured out, so I persevered). Once everything was mixed up and ready to go, we pour them into two small cake pans. They went into the oven to bake and then we let them cool. (They ended up ‘cooling’ overnight while we waited for more time to work on the cake.)

Ready to cool

The next day, we put the cakes in the freezer to help make them more stable for when we cut them up to make the lego block. We split the cakes in half and stacked them together, using a buttercream frosting that we colored green (recipe also on Cook for Love).

Lego Block Base

After the first coating of frosting, we put the cake back in the freezer for a few minutes. We took the remaining fourth section of cake and cut circles out of it to put on top of the base. After assembling that section, we decided we probably should have frosted the circles before putting them on the cake.

Amy helping level out the lego top

After Amy leveled out the lego tops, we got to work on frosting the rest of the cake. It was a little challenging to get those little circles on top covered well. But we persevered and got it done! Mimi had the idea to move the cake onto a piece of Lego road. After we set it up on the road, I grabbed some of Little Monkey’s minifigs and put them in front of the cake. I thought it would be cute if the minifigs were holding up a banner to say Happy Birthday. Mimi helped me out and we constructed a little banner with tape, construction paper, a sharpie and toothpicks! I love how it turned out!

Happy Birthday Little Monkey!

The cake was Little Monkey (and everyone else) approved! It tasted great and Little Monkey even ate almost his entire piece! (This was a big deal for me because with his old cupcakes/cake he would just lick the frosting off the top and then throw away the cupcake. It is frustrating to have that happen all the time, especially with how much work and money it takes for most of his special foods.) Thanks to Brenda and Cook for Love for your hard work in creating great recipes!


Little Monkey Approved!

Happy 5th Birthday Little Monkey!!!

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Little Monkey Update

February 10, 2011

We heard back on Little Monkey’s blood test finally. The results were what we expected, not what we wanted. He had a blood phe level of 9.6. This is lower than the last reading but still not acceptable. We have stopped the Kuvan and they are calling him a non-responder. Part of me is bummed about the outcome but at least we know. As Amy said one day, when Little Monkey was born, they didn’t even have Kuvan as an option. It has been almost five years…and in another five years there might be another option.